Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack responds to questions, with the assistance of Office of Communications Director of Web Communications Amanda Eamich, during the first Virtual Office hours live "Twitter" session held at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, April 4, 2012. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.
In the fast paced technology world there are a lot of firsts coming at us all the time. But if you had told me that I’d be present for the first ever USDA Virtual Office Hours on April 5, 2012, in our 150th year, I assure you I never would have believed you. The event allowed USDA, a department President Lincoln referred to as the People’s Department –– to reach hundreds of thousands of people, 140 characters at a time. What really struck me was how many insightful questions came in about energy and USDA, and, in particular, one that was asked on our Facebook page shortly before the hour long chat.
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Do you have an interest in U.S. energy policy? Are you in the ag sector looking for options in renewable energy? Here’s your chance to ask USDA!
On Thursday, April 5 at 1:30pm ET, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack himself will sit down for 45 minutes to answer YOUR questions on the Department’s renewable energy programs, and how USDA is helping build a secure energy future for America. Just submit them to the @USDA Twitter account using the hashtag #AskUSDA. Read more »
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan received a question via twitter message while in the USDA TV studio, during the unveiling of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF) Compass, an interactive web-based document and map highlighting USDA support for local and regional food projects and successful producer, business and community case studies. While hosting a live webinar to highlight USDA's work over the past three years, the Secretaries emphasized how local and regional food systems across the country create additional economic opportunities for farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs, expand healthy food access and meet growing customer demand. At the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, February 29, 2012. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.
Earlier this week we launched the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass, a digital narrative with stories, pictures and video about USDA’s support for local and regional food systems, and interactive map with datasets displaying the various ways and places where the initiative has made an impact. Read more »
A 63-foot Sierra white fir from the Stanislaus National Forest in California was lit as the 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree during a ceremony Dec. 6 on the west front lawn of the Capitol. The Christmas tree is adorned with about 3,000 ornaments, all homemade by California residents, and 10,000 energy-efficient lights. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
Every year, the Christmas tree that graces the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol originates from one of our country’s National Forests. It may not be widely known that the USDA’s Forest Service is instrumental in facilitating the Capitol Christmas Tree’s transport from the forest to the Washington, DC, yet it’s a proud tradition that has steadily gained attention each year with the growing popularity of social media tools. The 2011 annual trek is our number 6 favorite social media moment. Read more »
As 2011 draws to an end, this is a time where we begin to look back on things we learned or achieved, and to make resolutions for the year ahead. We wanted to take the end of 2011 to look back on the wide range of social media activities that we had the pleasure of planning, executing and watching unfold across the Department in an effort to better serve you, our most important audience. From Twitter chats, to video challenges, to new ways to share valuable data, we think USDA really upped the ante on the social media front this year.
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USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA)—the agency responsible for equitably serving all farmers, ranchers, and agricultural partners in the United States with effective agricultural programs—recently launched a Spanish-language Twitter account. We hope it helps to reach Hispanic farmers and ranchers in a new way. We’ll “tweet” the latest information on farm programs, loan announcements and emergency designations. We’ll also issue updates via Twitter on the Hispanic and women farmers claims process.
“We are excited to offer a tool that reaches folks for whom English is not their first language,” said FSA Administrator Bruce Nelson. “As the population of Hispanic farmers and ranchers continues to grow, we need to grow with them and provide resources to help educate and inform all of our customers.” Read more »